To help realize the potential of digital health technologies to improve patient care, the Advanced Medical Technology Association (AdvaMed) issued a white paper detailing recommendations to modernize Medicare coverage and payment policies so that beneficiaries can have greater access to the latest digital health innovations.  

“CMS has demonstrated incredible leadership facilitating access to telehealth technologies and other innovations during the COVID-19 pandemic, to the benefit of both patients and providers,” says Scott Whitaker, president and CEO of AdvaMed. “The agency must continue to move forward and eliminate bureaucratic obstacles so that patients can be best served by digital health technologies that improve the quality and efficiency of care.”   

The report, Modernizing Medicare Coverage for Digital Health Technologies, was developed with health policy consultant firm CapView Strategies. The report notes that CMS has the authority to modernize its existing regulations and proceed with changes to coverage and payment policies that will provide beneficiaries access to the benefits of a broad array of digital technologies that can improve quality and patient outcomes and help reduce the total cost of care.    

The recommendations to improve CMS regulations for digital health technologies cover all major pathways in the Medicare program and are designed to facilitate access across settings and users. Recommendations focus on:  

  • Recognizing the value of innovative software and applications
  • Expanding the use of remote patient monitoring and other digital communications between patients and providers
  • Better linking FDA’s processes for approving and clearing innovative and breakthrough technologies with Medicare coverage processes

“We were surprised at the extent of untapped potential we uncovered in our research, in terms of CMS’s potential to modernize benefits to better accommodate digital health solutions that can help maintain and improve patient health,” says Lu Zawistowich, president and founder of CapView Strategies.

In addition, the report proposes a number of broader steps CMS and HHS should take to ensure maximum acceptance and diffusion of digital health technologies, including:   

  • Undertaking a comprehensive review of all Medicare regulations, guidance and program instructions 
  • Evaluating any lessons learned during the COVID-19 health crisis
  • Establishing an inter-agency task force to coordinate actions across federal and state agencies
  • Creation of a public-private consortium for digital health technologies

“During COVID we’ve seen a significant rise in the adoption of digital health tools to diagnose patients, set them up on new therapies, and monitor them to drive compliance and better outcomes,” says Mick Farrell, CEO of ResMed, a digital health and connected device leader, and chair of AdvaMed’s Center for Digital Health “The recommendations AdvaMed proposes can help millions more access these life-changing tools today and long after this pandemic ends.”

 A summary of the white paper is available here.